First posted on 15 September 2009. Last updated on 15 September 2009.
|Claudia Christian is a versatile American actress who is best known to sci-fi fans as Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5.|
|Claudia Christian is the voice of Abbie Positive in Pizza Morgana from Corbomite Games.|
For more information, visit Official Website of actress Claudia Christian.
Fans of Claudia Christian may best remember her for her role as Susan Ivanova in the sci-fi television series Babylon 5. However, the versatile American-born actress' portfolio of work extends far beyond a single television hit series—but to numerous other films, television shows, plays, and even music. Video game fans may also remember Christian for her voice roles in Solar Eclipse (Crystal Dynamics), Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire (THQ), Summoner 2 (THQ), Earth and Beyond (Electronic Arts), and Shrek 2 (Activision). Christian's latest game project is Pizza Morgana, a point-and-click episodic adventure game series from Israeli developer Corbomite Games. In it, she plays the role of Abbie Positive, a mischievous and rebellious pizza delivery vampire (really) who becomes a spiritual guide to a helpless young girl lost in a magical world.
We are extremely privileged to have this rare opportunity to interview Claudia Christian. In the interview, Christian speaks about her role as Abbie Positive in Pizza Morgana, her role as Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5, her work in other films and television, her video gaming habits (or rather lack of), and what fans can look forward to seeing from her in the near future. Her quick wit is evident from her answers and shows a side of her own personality that differs from many of the characters she has portrayed on screen.
Check out our photos of Christian, autographed by our favorite sci-fi screen siren herself (yes, we begged)!
- How would you describe your character Abbie Positive in Pizza Morgana? How much of Abbie' personality, including her biting wits and sarcasm, reflected that of your own?
- Abbie is sarcastic with a biting wit on the exterior and perhaps a little soft on the inside, like most people (and vampires) who tend to "act" tougher then they really are. It's a defense mechanism! She's really a sweetie...just like me. :) I think that all of the characters I play have a little bit of me in them, you cannot remove all of your personality (though I have tried in some performances such as the 2001 indie film "True Rights" where I wore a fat suit, changed the way I spoke, walked and ate etc. etc., unfortunately only about 4 people saw the film and my performance).
- How did you end up landing the role of Abbie Positive? Why did you decide to take on this game project?
- I landed the role of Abbie through the creator of the game, Oded. I had done a convention appearance for him in Israel and he and I and his lovely wife Lee have remained friends. They are really good people and I'm thrilled that they have procreated recently!
- When and where was voice recording done for the game? How much time did it take you to do the recording? What memorable funny outtakes or bloopers, if any, happened during the recording session?
- The recording session was in the Valley in Los Angeles on a hot summer day. It took a few hours and there is nothing unusual that I can mention about the recording session (without getting into trouble). My lips are sealed, sorry guys....and the rumor that I did the recording in the nude is complete hearsay!
- What are the differences between doing voiceovers for a computer game and doing voiceovers for other media?
- There is no difference in doing a voice over for a radio spot or a game, they all use the same format, say the line over and over until they feel they have it. Games are usually tougher than say a car ad or a radio spot for dog food... because there are a lot of yells and grunts and fights so your voice blows out after the abuse.
- Are you familiar with game co-creator Uri Fink's Zbeng! comics? Are you a gamer yourself? What video games, if any, do you play?
- I am not familiar with Uri's work nor do I play games...the closest I have come to any of this world is playing Wii tennis with my nephews....not exactly high tech stuff. I am a book reader, old fashioned style, I do not use a Kindle..I like real books..you know the ones they sell in book stores? No, not the books on tape..the paper ones.
- You had done voiceovers for other video games. How did those experiences differ from your current experience working on Pizza Morgana? What is your favorite line playing as Abbie Positive?
- I have done TONS of games, Shrek games, sci fi games, all sorts of games and all sorts of accents. I have played elephants, aliens and fairies! There was no difference playing Abbie really...they are all the same format..do the lines and give them options on your readings of the lines. I can't really remember my favorite line but I had a lot of fun riffing in an Indian accent during the recording session!
- You played the role of Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5. In hindsight, was your premature departure from the show simply a matter of failed contract negotiation? To what extent did creative differences about your character or the show play a role in your decision to leave Babylon 5? How regrets, if any, did you have about not returning to Babylon 5 for the fifth and final season, thus leaving your character in limbo?
- I will state the facts again here. Babylon 5 was cancelled, I took another job, Babylon 5 suddenly got the money to do the 5th season, I had to have in writing that I could be written out of 3 episodes to do the movie I had already agreed to do, JMS would not give me that in writing, period. The company I had agreed to do the film for could not "take his word" for it they needed it in writing and he could not do that because I was under a 22 episode contract and they would not alter it. I was not at fault and I suppose nor was he, it happened and frankly it worked out for the best because the first 4 seasons were far superior. By the way, my character was in the last episode and he could have given a classier excuse as to where I was. They also could have hired me for 18 episodes or 13 or anything but they chose to play hard ball and let me go. Anyone who knows me and who was there at the time knows that I would have gladly worked every episode EXCEPT for the 3 I needed to complete the film I had already SIGNED a contract to do. I hope to never have to answer that question again in my life but I'm quite sure that will not come to fruition!
- In 2007, you wrote a short tongue-in-cheek autobiography, My Life With Geeks & Freaks. What inspired you to write this autobiography so early in your life and in your career?
- My life with geeks and freaks was not meant to be an autobiography it was meant to be a love letter to my sci fi fans.
- Aside from Babylon 5, you had roles in a large number of films, television shows, and plays. Which was your favorite character? Why? Which actor or actress did you most enjoy working with on the set? Why? How true (even if a bit) was the rumor that you were once considered for the role of Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager but you declined the offer?
- I loved working on Clean and Sober and Hexed. I loved my B5 co stars and the whole experience of doing that show, it was pure joy and the people were amazing. I have loved any role, which allows me to stretch, and I really enjoyed doing the voice of Helga Sinclair in Atlantis for Disney.
I was up for the role of 7 of 9 but I did not get it, I have never refused a role in my life nor have I ever declined an offer, which is probably why I have done so many crap films.
- To what extent is voice acting easier or more difficult than acting in films or on television? What is your favorite medium as a performer? Why?
- Voice acting is easier because you don't have hair and makeup and wardrobe to worry about nor do you have to memorize the lines. I like all mediums of performance except dramatic theatre.... doing 8 shows a week....I get bored.
- Many of your fans are surprised by your playful sense of humor and witty sarcasm in real life, in part because the characters you play are often tragic figures that are devoid of these traits. How have these traits helped you to deal with the pressure of living a very public life, particularly during moments of personal crisis or tragedy?
- I don't think of my characters as "tragic" I think of them as layered and complex. I have also played a lot of comedy and action as well. I am comfortable in all of these roles but my favorite is comedy and my dream is to be on a well-written comedy...that is my absolute dream. As far as being in the public eye, I'm a small fish in a big pond so I have loads of privacy. I live in LA and London so I rarely get recognized in LA because there are so many bigger celebs walking around and in London it's mostly very polite British sci fi fans who comment on me or say "hello". If I had a personal tragedy or crisis I would be home or with my family so I don't see where being a "non mega star" actress would affect my ability to be alone, there is not a gaggle of paparazzi outside my door, trust me.
- Aside from Pizza Morgana, what are your other current projects? Will you be open to return to a new Babylon 5 film or spinoff in the future?
- I very much doubt that I will ever be invited to play in Babylon 5's sand box ever again...however I DO have a wonderful TV series called "LOOK" coming out soon on Showtime and I play a crazy train wreck of a character named Stella. It was written and directed by my old friend Adam Rifkin and it is based on his film of the same name. I am grateful for the opportunity to show people how nuts and funny and offensive I can actually be on screen. :)